In the wake of another troubling budget season and a near-fatal bus accident, some good news came out of the Dansville Board of Education meeting last week.

In the wake of another troubling budget season and a near-fatal bus accident, some good news came out of the Dansville Board of Education meeting last week.


Dansville Central School Superintendent Paul Alioto began with a transportation safety audit conducted by Syracuse-based Pupil Transportations Safety Institute, a not-for-profit agency, after the district called them in response to a recent accident where an 8-year-old girl was dragged some 900 feet after her backpack got caught in a bus door.


The PTSI?report concluded that the Jan. 25 acccident, “was found to be an isolated incident and not indicative of the safety levels of performance systemically.”


The report went on to say that the staff, “was found to be safety conscious, well trained and committed to the important work they do. They are, as is everyone who was encountered at the district, good people who really care about the children.”


Alioto said that the report, “was perhaps the best news that I could have received after a year and a half of fairly tumultuous experiences with changes in our transportation department.”


The audit, however, found room for improvement. PTSI?executive director Kathleen Furneaux suggested the district make the campus’ traffic pattern in the parking lot and loading zone safer; make sure buses are parked in the loading zone prior to the second afternoon run; and that merging the transportation department with another school district (an option that has been in discussion to save area districts money) should not be considered at this time to alleviate driver stress.


On the first suggestion, Alioto said the state department of transportation may not be willing to change the traffic pattern ­to create a separate entrance and exit for buses and general vehicles due to having denied the same request a number of years ago.


But Alioto said he’ll be looking further into that. “It makes sense to add another entrance and exit,” he said.


The second recommendation can be easily rectified, and a painted line has been placed on the sidewalk for students not to cross until buses are in place.


On the last recommendation, Alioto suggested that the board look into moderate shared services with neighboring school district transportation departments, while “putting the brakes on an all-out merger.”


From there, Alioto went on to discuss the Jan. 30 community forum in the 7-12 cafeteria, and said that another forum is slated for 7 p.m. March 20 in the same cafeteria.


He talked about the many ideas posed, and commended the format, which included parents, teachers and administrators coming together to form ideas on how to make the district operate efficiently.


More good news was given by Alioto when he announced that efforts by payroll and human service departments resulted in 17 retirees having opted to change to a new insurance plan, which will save the district about $74,000 next year, the equivalent of 1 percent of a tax levy increase.


Another cost-savings measure, discussed later in the meeting, is the district’s option of refinancing the school’s debt. It is estimated that this could save the district roughly $125,000 next year alone. An exact amount has not yet been determined.


But on a less encouraging note, budget issues still plague the district. Costs rise above a proposed $321,000 state aid increase.


Without making cuts, the instructional budget could increase by $483,915; student transportation could increase by $32,901; and benefits for all employees would increase by nearly $1 million.


Of the benefit increase, $630,200 is an increase in dental, health and retiree insurance.